Overview

Optibike is known to produce some of the most high-end electric bikes on the market, but they come with a price tag. Ranging from $8,995 for the Helia female model, to $9,995+ for the R-Series, Optibikes are designed for those who want quality and are willing to pay for it.

Technical Review

Powering the R-Series are a 22Ah lithium-ion battery and an 850W continuous brushless DC motor that Optibike says will give you about 40 miles of electric-only operation and more with a light to moderate amount of pedaling.

It’s also worth noting, however, that the Federal limit for electric bicycles is rated at 750W. So, when you use the Optibike on the streets, there is a risk of getting fined or ticketed by the police for riding a bike that goes outside these regulations and technically can be considered illegal.

One of the most interesting elements of the Optibike is the mid-drive motor - Motorized Bottom Bracket® (MBB) – which takes advantage of the bike gears. Compared to a traditional and cheaper hub motors, this sort of a mid-drive motor is much more powerful and efficient. 

At your fingertips are the Optibike’s 9-speed grip shifter, thumb throttle and front and rear hydraulic disk brakes. On electric power alone, the R-Series will reach a top speed of 20 MPH on flat pavement. Once up to speed, it can maintain about 28mph with pedaling.

The bikes are built on a unique aluminum monocoque frame and is fully loaded with ultralight carbon fiber handlebars, wheels and derailleur. One of Optibike’s advantages and drawbacks is that it has all of its components hidden inside the frame. This is an interesting and elegant solution, but has some issues associated with it – mainly, that it becomes quite difficult to access the key electrical components and, if one of them fails, the bike will have to come apart. Because of the complexity, it is likely that task will likely need to be carried out at the Boulder, Colorado facility by an Optibike technician.

Personal Experience

Pros: “… It’s very fast -  The Optibike in the Fast mode could maintain 32+ mph on the flats and it topped out at about 38 mph on slight downhills with just the motor powering the bike.  

The 1100 watt Motorized Bottom Bracket is nice because it powers through the drivetrain of the bike and can take advantage of using higher or lower gears to optimize it’s power and efficiency without getting “bogged down” on a hill.  With the power and wide range of gear ratios from the Rohloff 14 speed internal gear hub there really are no limits to the hills that this bike can climb.

The mid mount motor is also great for keeping the weight of the motor in the center of the bike for good handling...“

Cons: “… Removing the battery is not a quick and easy task which is good for security but it is not so good if you want to store and charge only your battery inside.  Storing the battery in really cold or hot temperatures can damage the battery…”

Conclusion

There is no argument that Optibike likely does produce some of the best bikes on the market. They are filled with high-end components and look quite stylish.
Repairs and maintenance is likely to be an issue, however, unless you live in Boulder, CO. Otherwise, you’d have to ship your bike there, which is an expensive proposition in it of itself.

All things considered, if you are looking for the top electric bike on the market and money is no object, Optibike is worth a look. If $9,000 to $15,000 price tag is tough to justify – there are other mid-drive bikes available on the market for much less.



Specifications:
Max Speed 20-28 mph
Range 20-50 miles
Power Options Pedal-Assist or Throttle
Motor Style  Mid-Drive
Motor Power 850W
Battery  37v 26Ah
Gears / Speeds  13 Speed
Brakes  Disc Brakes
Weight 60 Lbs
Warranty  1 Year


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